Monday, October 21, 2013

With Great Anticipation

Just around the bend in Central Park. 3:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday October 21, 2013. A beautiful, sunny weekend in New York with temperatures dropping into the low 50s by late Saturday night, early Sunday morning.
Saturday afternoon it was beginning to look like maybe we'd have some rain -- looking northeast over the East River and the Robert F. Kennedy Triborough Bridge. 4:30 p.m.
First of autumn shows her colors at the top of a tree in Carl Schurz Park at Gracie Square and East End Avenue. Saturday, 4:45 p.m.
Same corner, Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., heading toward the park's "Halloween Howl."
People arriving with dogs and children for the 15th Annual Carl Schurz Park Conservancy "Halloween Howl + Healthy Hound Fair" held on the hockey court in the 15.2 acre park. The "Howl" attracted 308 small, medium and large dogs, "costumed-to-kill in five categories: "Kids & Dogs," "Small Dogs," "Large dogs," "Three-dog/person Group," and "NYC-themed."
Called, orchestrated and controlled chaos by the Conservancy's Executive Director David D. Williams, the event was co-chaired by New York's well known dog trainer Samantha Schmidt and Brenda Sauer, director of Admitting, New York Presbyterian Hospital. They always have at least one shelter showing at the Howl and this year it was Bide-A-Wee who joined their blue chip suppliers of healthy pet products.
Madame (on the left) inspecting one of the costumed pooches getting ready for her entrance. One of the first prizes in the Group category went to a team of volunteers and dogs from Pledge 2 Protect, the NYC organization fighting to stop the City's construction of an East River waste transfer dump in the community's high density school, housing and recreational center location.
"What's with the uniform, Stud?" About 1000 people attended. The Howl registration, silent auctions and exhibitors fees benefit the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy in its Park restorations, maintenance and programs, including the costs to upkeep and clean the two world-class dog runs. The next Conservancy event will be its annual Holiday Tree Lighting, Sunday, December 8th from 5 to 6 p.m. at the foot of East 86th Street and the Park on East End Avenue.
Meanwhile on the river, a tugs pulls a construction crane downstream toward the harbor.
And a lone sailor navigates his way along the same route. 3:30 p.m.
Last Thursday night at the Park Avenue Armory, they held their annual Gala, “In The Void,” honoring Robert Wilson, the Visionary Artist and Director, and Citi Private Bank, the Season Sponsor.

The building was dedicated in 1880 as the 7th Regiment Armory, and originally served as headquarters and administrative building for the 7th New York Militia Regiment (known as the Silk Stocking Regiment because of its great number of the city’s social elite among its membership). At the time of its creation, besides its enormous drill hall, architects and designers of the American Aesthetic Movement including Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, the Herter Brothers, Kimbel and Cabus, Alexander Roux, and Francis Davis Millet were commissioned to furnish the rooms and company quarters. The masterpiece of the building is the Veterans Room — also known as the Tiffany Room — with handcarved wood panelling and coffered ceiling in the Viking Revival style.

After more than a century, the Charles Clinton designed Gothic Revival edifice, made a National Historic Landmark in 1986, had begun to show alarming signs of age and wear. In 2000, two men, Wade Thompson and Elihu Rose, with a shared vision, created a not-for-profit organization – calling it The Park Avenue Armory – with a mission of revitalizing, refurbishing, repairing and restoring the interior and exterior of the structure as a unique alternative arts space.

And unique it is. In the past half dozen years, the result of the vision of Messrs. Thompson and Rose is a major cultural center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, that has established its own style and signature for arts oriented public demonstrations, performances and events. Last Thursday night’s fund-raising gala included a seated dinner for 480 guests in the 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall.

I like to go to any event/activity/show at the Park Avenue Armory simply because you-never-know-what you’re going to get, to see, and to be amazed by. Thursday night was a perfect example.

The evening began with a cocktail reception in the building’s grand entrance hallway and period rooms at 6:30. I arrived about fifteen minutes before the dinner scheduled at 7:30. At about my time of arrival, they’d opened the doors to the Drill Hall. I knew immediately I was in for something wondrous and spectacular, and so I did my best to record the experience with my camera.
When you entered the Armory building at 7:15, this was what you could see through the doorway of the Wade Thompson Drill Room doors. What was it? A scene, but what kind of a scene?
A little closer, a serpentine formation of dining tables ...
And then on entering the vast (55,000 square foot) room, blackness and white, and wonder ...
The tables ...
Farther into the room as people look for their placement.
You can see how vast the room is, surrounded by tall darkness.
Elihu Rose at table (unaware of the camera). Elly, as he is known to scores of friends and admirers, began the movement to create the Park Avenue Armory as a culture center with Wade Thompson, who died at the age of 69 just before the new project came into its own in 2009.
The evening officially opens.
The guests at table.
The room from above.
Mark Gilbertson and Jennifer Crandall taking it all in while the waitstaff (wearing black body and head suits) serves the first course.
The honoree Robert Wilson addressing the audience reading some poetry of his collaborator Christopher Knowles.
Violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain opening the evening with his music.
Roumain on the violin.
The performance of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater begins.
The light and smoke from behind the scenes suddenly fills the room, announcing ...
The Alvin Ailey dancers enter ...
David Monn, who conceived and designed the event, and oversaw the amazing decor of the evening.
Elihu Rose congratulating David Monn on his achievement of creating a most wondrous event for the supporters of the Park Avenue Armory.
Peter Charrington, CEO of Citi Private Banking which was an honoree and supports the Armory's season.
The first Citi-bike enters the room.
Bill Ackman riding a Citi-bike into the room after the dinner.
The entire spectacular evening was conceived and designed by David Monn, the prominent New York events designer and producer.

Honorary Chairs of the Gala Committee were Karen and Bill Ackman, Peter Clive Charrington, and Susan and Elihu Rose.

Honorary Committee was Marina Abramovic Mikhail Baryshnikov, Willem Dafoe, Philip Glass, Ralph Lemon and Cindy Sherman. Gala Vice-Chairs were Wendy Belzberg and Strauss Zelnick, Carolyn Brody, Helene and Stuyvesant Comfort, Lisa and Sandy Ehrenkranz, Sandi and Andrew Farkas, Michael Field and Jeff Arnstein, Olivia and Adam Faltto, Marjorie and Gurnee Hart, Ken Kucyin and Tyler Morgan, Almudena and Pablo Legorreta, Heidi and Tom McWilliams Rebecca Robertson and Byron Knief, Donna and Marvin Schwartz, and Liz and Emanuel Stern.
Elihu Rose and Susan Rose.
Angela Thompson, David Monn, and Heidi McWilliams.
Alex Poots, Katharina Otto Bernstein, Robert Wilson, Peter Charrington, and Jennifer Charrington.
Matt Ailey and Susan Getz.
Wendy Belzberg and Robert Pruzan.
Peter and Jennifer Charrington.
Jane deFlorio and Hugh Chisholm.
Mike deFlorio, Claire Milonas, and Stuyvesant Comfort.
Michael Field and Lori Finkel.
Adam Flatto and Emma Bloomberg.
Susan Getz and David Fox.
Olivia Flatto and Bill Ackman.
Hillary and Benjamin Macklowe.
Joel Picket, Rebecca Robertson, and Heidi McWilliams.
Jon Katzman and Fiona Rudin.
Korinna Kortovos and Pierre Arnaud Ladoux.
John Loeb and Isabelle Harnoncourt.
Alan MacDonald and Dee Mayberry.
Michel Mercure and Coco Quinlan.
Tyler Morgan, Tina Barney, and Slobodan Randjelovic.
Cindy Moross, Olivia Flatto, and Gigi Grimstad.
Howard and Barbara Morse with Ken Kuchin.
Michael Odell and Andrea Olshan.
Alex Poots, Rebecca Robertson, and Robert Wilson.
Daisy Prince, Mark Gilbertson, and Jennifer Crandall.
Will Zeckendorf and Adrienne Arsht.
Rebecca Robertson, Peter Charrington, and Leslie Bains.
Bradford Roaman and Deb van Eck.
Michael Shnayerson, Kamie Lightburn, and Jim Muzzy.
Mike Starn, E Millie Deboissiere, Diana Norton, and Ann Pasternak.
Renee Harbers and Adam Flatto.

Armory atmosphere photos by DPC/NYSD and James Ewing, Melanie Einzig.

Contact DPC here.